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Beautiful Borderlands

Tour: 3C
Circular Cycling Holiday
Hotel To Hotel Cycling Holiday

Love gardens? Then let this tour put you in a gentle Suffolk spin. Pedal along rural lanes bright with wildflowers, past great greens dotted with campion pinks and little thatched cottages with towering hollyhocks to the famous gardens of Bressingham on the Norfolk border. Take a trip to ‘Foggy Bottom’ or ride on a steam train to see the Bloom family’s glorious gardens from a different angle. American airmen took to the wartime skies nearby and just a pedal push further, the River Dove follows a peaceful path through historic Hoxne and past the fine flint church and motte and bailey castle at Eye. You’ll find floral delights all along the way and cider orchards too near half-timbered Debenham, before you head back across Ronald Blythe’s idyllic ‘Akenfield’ country. Read More



Start Day

Any Day

Board Basis

Bed & Breakfast

Prices from



3 Days, 2 Nights


Jan - Nov

Tour Grade

Grade 1 (Very Easy)

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Great for cycling garden lovers, but this tour along quiet lanes has plenty of interest for all, from steam trains to control towers and castles, historic market towns and Suffolk’s iconic churches. Big blue skies, generally level terrain and exceptionally quiet lanes typify the border country of Suffolk and Norfolk. The River Waveney marks much of the border, hugging the edge of Bressingham – home to the Blooms’ beautiful garden legacies. From Needham Market’s River Gipping, pedal up to the Waveney Valley where there are steam trains to ride on around Bressingham’s famous gardens. Don’t miss the gallopers, steam museum and Dad’s Army exhibition. The return via Eye and Debenham covers countryside dotted with aviation heritage sites, medieval market towns and Suffolk’s rural valley slopes immortalised as ‘Akenfield’. Not enough time for an overnight in Suffolk before your tour? Tour 2C will guide you directly up to Rickinghall with just less time to stop and smell the flowers on the way! 

Tour Code:
Circular Cycling Holiday, Hotel To Hotel Cycling Holiday
3 Days, 2 Nights
Board Basis:
Bed & Breakfast
Jan - Nov


Day 1 Arrive & explore

Arrive at Needham Market, explore the area and spend your first night in or near this small market town. Optional circular cycle routes are available on this day, if you’d like to get straight in the saddle and enjoy the ride.

Day 2 Great village greens & glorious gardens 

Cycle along little Suffolk lanes through charming rural villages to Thornham Magna, once home to Tudor ‘Major House’, later to become Regency ‘Thornham Hall’. Parts of the estate still remain, with walks through the arboretum and nuttery to the original walled garden. Don’t miss Thornham Parva’s thatched pre-Conquest church nearby, renowned for its rare early wallpaintings and magnificent ‘lost’ altar piece or Mendlesham’s mysterious stone on the village green. Mary Tudor lived in this area when married to Charles Brandon, after her brief time as Queen of France.

Onwards though, across England’s largest village green (stretching 2 miles) at Mellis, around Wortham’s heathy ‘ling’, and over the Norfolk border to Bressingham, famous for its landscaped gardens and superb display of herbaceous plants and heathers. Stroll through the gardens or see them from the narrow gauge steam railways, part of the fascinating steam museum which also boasts vintage vehicles and sets from the popular TV series Dad’s Army.

Your overnight is in a comfortable historic inn at Rickinghall near Diss, a village split in two (Rickinghall Superior / Inferior – ie. upper and lower!) and joined at the hip with the ancient trading town of Botesdale.

Mileage: Rec 34 Min 20 Max 35

Day 3 Flying through history from the haunt of kings to castles 

Meet up with the flightpath of the River Dove today as it glides along through historic Hoxne where King Edmund was murdered after hiding under Goldbrook Bridge. The sleepy village was once a major place of pilgrimage.

Next up, Eye – host to a wartime airfield site and poignant American Airforce memorial – has a 12th century motte and bailey castle with superb views of the adjacent flint church which has to be one of Suffolk’s finest. The orchards of Aspall Cider lie on the outskirts of the half-timbered and delightfully floral wool town of Debenham before you leave the River Deben and head across rural landscapes immortalised by Ronald Blythe in his fictional picture of a Suffolk village, ‘Akenfield’.

Finally, on your way back to Needham Market and the River Gipping, pedal through the unassuming historic village of Coddenham, once a fine medieval manor and home to one of East Anglia’s most significant Roman settlements.

Mileage: Rec 22 Min 22 Max 32

Please note that some attractions / places described on our recommended routings may be seasonal, or only open on certain days of the week. To avoid disappointment, please always check with us to ensure that they are open on the day of your planned visit.

Dates & Prices

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For tour start days/dates, seasons and all prices, please click on the PRICES button above


Ensuite accommodation as described with full English breakfast (prices based on two adults sharing)

Hire of hybrid bicycle and ancillary equipment (single pannier and handlebar bag or map holder, pump, basic tools, spare inner tube & puncture repair equipment, helmet if required)

Luggage transfer between hotels

Local assistance on call (we will attend for puncture repair in Suffolk)

Detailed itinerary with meticulously planned and researched routes following quiet country lanes with a choice of routes available each day (usually recommended, long and short)

Route notes, descriptions and use of good OS mapping (maps available on arrival). We pride ourselves on our detailed level of documentation which includes plenty of top tips for places to visit or for relaxing and sampling the local fare along the way. We send electronic versions of these documents by email approximately two weeks before your stay so you can plan ahead and look forward to your gentle cycling adventure

We have now switched the default navigation system to GPS – in our opinion this is now the most convenient method as it eliminates the need for frequent stops to check the map

  • We provide you with access to a premium GPS smartphone navigation app (IOS or Android) and send you links so that you can download all of the route options before you leave home.  We will provide a handlebar bracket for your phone if required; it is also recommended that you bring a spare battery/powerbank to make sure that your phone lasts the day
  • We can also provide GPS tracks in whatever format if you prefer to load them into your own GPS Unit
  • Finally, we can provide a limited number of GPS  units with the routes preloaded – this is on a first come first served basis – please let us know as soon as  you can if  you would like to use one
  • We will also provide OS 1:50,000 mapping on arrival as additional support to allow for any impromptu route changes
  • Traditional map-based navigation (using marked OS maps) is still available as an alternative at extra cost upon request (at least two weeks in advance)
Please note that the price EXCLUDES

Costs of getting to and from the start point

Accommodation Options

Selected 3 star hotel in Bildeston and a 4 star historic inn in Rickinghall, near the bustling market town of Diss.

We are pleased to discuss details on request.

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